This past Sunday has to have been the worst selection Sunday of all time. Not only was it incredibly long and overdrawn, but it also produced the most horrendous bracket I have ever seen. Besides the obvious Cornell snub, there was a plethora (yes I used the word plethora) of decisions I didn’t agree with. And I’m pretty sure the rest of the country felt the same.
First of all, the Big Ten got absolutely hosed. Outside of the Big 12, you could make the case that the Big Ten was the best conference in basketball this year, and they got absolutely zero respect from the committee. Indiana, the undisputed league champion, got a five seed, and they just happen to be in line to play Kentucky in the round of 32. That’s absolutely ridiculous for a league champion. Purdue and Maryland also got five seeds, and you can easily make the case that Purdue should have been a four or even a three, while Maryland should have been a four. But the most obvious travesty was what happened to Michigan State. The number two ranked team in the nation, the Big Ten tournament champion, and practically everyone’s tournament favorite in the country, did not get a one seed. This is mind-boggling. How does Virginia lose in the ACC championship game and get awarded a one seed along with North Carolina? It seems like an easy decision to replace them with Michigan State. The real shocker, though, has to be Oregon getting that last number one spot.
I’m sorry, but I have absolutely no respect for Oregon and the Pac-12. It’s a weak conference, and Oregon should not have been rewarded. But they weren’t the only ones. The Pac-12 put 7 teams in the tournament this year. SEVEN. Outside of Oregon, Cal and Utah both also received illogical seedings. Cal gets a higher seed than the Big Ten champ? Utah gets a three seed even after getting destroyed in the Pac-12 championship? This is mind-boggling.
Aside from the committee’s unfathomable love affair with the Pac-12, there were other seedlings that just didn’t make any sense as well. How does Texas A&M lose to Kentucky in the SEC championship and get a higher seed than them, when both schools had a claim of the regular season title? Oh and more hate incoming on the Pac-12: Oregon State had 12 losses and was a 7 seed. I don’t see how going 9-9 in conference play gets you in the top half of seeding. Maybe I’m wrong about the Pac-12, but I don’t see any team getting to the Elite 8, yet alone the Final 4.
As for surprising selections, the one that most jumps out at you has to be Syracuse. Syracuse had the worst RPI of any team to ever make the tournament and lost four out of their last five games. And they didn’t even have to play in the play-in games. Mind boggling. I would also go on a rant about Tulsa being included, but I know nothing about Tulsa. They were completely irrelevant in the weeks leading up to selection Sunday, and Lunardi had them nowhere near the bubble. The fact that they got in over Monmouth and their glorious bench is a complete tragedy.
Simply put, the committee fucked up. I could have put a better bracket together after finishing a 30-rack of Keystone. But let’s not end on such a negative note. It’s still the best sporting time of the year, and the next couple of weeks are going to be a lot of fun. I know I picked Texas to win it all a couple weeks ago, but I’ve realized that was stupid when Kansas absolutely demolished them. My brain tells me that Michigan State has what it takes. Denzel Valentine is so so so good, and the Spartans alway brings it come tourney time. However, my heart (as well as fate theory) tells me that Yogi Ferrell and Indiana will go all the way: in a huge “cinderella run,” Indiana will knock off blue bloods Kentucky, North Carolina, and Kansas to win its sixth national championship. This was my initial prediction at the beginning of the year, and I’m sticking with it. Go Hoosiers.